Switching EMRs in changing times
As most if not all physicians know, making the decision to either remain with your current electronic medical record vendor or move to a new EMR platform is complex and should not be made lightly. This past year has brought many challenges to the physician community, increasing the need for a reliable, complete, cost effective EMR solution. There are many considerations and while the main driver is often cost, the EMR must meet the needs of the clinic while balancing a stable and secure platform.
Given the significance of eDelivery of lab and diagnostic results in managing patient care, we feel that it’s critical that your clinic maintain this functionality. Consideration should also be given to the integration of new technologies such as patient portals, provincial initiatives (Community Information Integration/Central Patient Attachment Registry as but one example), and virtual care tools.
We have seen the introduction of new EMRs into Alberta, adding another level of complexity and choice for physicians. If you are considering changing EMR platforms, we’ve put together five tips to help you navigate the current environment:
1. Confirm conformance
Ensure that whichever EMR platform you choose is integrated with the provincial tools your clinic needs such as CII/CPAR and eDelivery. Ask for details such as if this integration is currently available or planned, and if it is a partial or full and automated integration.
2. Take your time
Give yourself at least six months prior to the end of your current contract. Be clear on exactly what you want. The selection takes time, as does the migration of your data to the new platform.
3. Clarify incentives
If the new EMR vendor is offering incentives, ensure you examine the expiration date of the offer, the duration of the incentive and what the cost model looks like after the incentives have expired.
4. Verify rumors
With the introduction of new EMRs in Alberta, it’s important that you get all information directly from the source. If you are having a hard time finding the facts, there is a contact email below to assist.
5. Consider the Provincial eHealth Strategy
There is a project underway to develop an eHealth Strategy for Alberta; a core part of this work is an EMR model. While we don’t know what this will look like, it has the potential to establish minimum requirements for EMR vendors which may change which EMRs can be used in Alberta. The final report is due at the end of May.
Do your due diligence and don’t be rushed into a decision.
We are here to help. If you have any questions please contact Caroline.Garland@albertadoctors.org.


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